“By far the worst year I’ve seen in terms of donations,” said Dena Calvanese, Executive Director The Gray House.
The Gray House in the North End of Springfield and Lorraine’s Soup in Chicopee like other pantries in western Massachusetts are seeing an increase in need.
“On average in the past we use to see thirty to forty clients, families that would come through our pantry daily. Now we are seeing fifty to sixty,” said Kim Goulette, Executive Director Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen.
Thanksgiving and other holidays add to the demand for the non-profits.
“When the holidays come you know people want to spend money on the holidays versus you know food on their table and it strains families,” said Goulette.
The Western Massachusetts Food Bank in Hatfield is also seeing the increase in need. They supply about 300 pantries in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties. They took a hit of their own. Because of federal cuts they received one million less pounds of food this year.
“In order to make up for that we have now decided to actually purchase large quantities of food for the first time, which means we are putting an additional financial burden on the organization,” said Sarah Gibbons, Western Mass. Food Bank.
Besides the holidays the pressure remains for the food bank and the pantries as people struggle to pay for fuel during the winter.
For more information on how to organize a food drive click here.